Study Links High Blood Pressure to Cognitive Problems

High blood pressure negatively affects cognitive competency, along with diabetes, obesity, and smoking.

According to a recent study, high blood pressure negatively affects cognitive competency, along with diabetes, obesity, and smoking.

The study, which was performed by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), focused on 1,352 individuals who had an average age of fifty-four at the commencement of the study.

The patients were followed over the course of ten years and participated in a series of tests including blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol examinations. The researchers also measured the waist circumference and mass of the participants.

The researchers found that the study participants who had high blood pressure went on to develop damage to their blood vessels in small regions of the brain. The development of such damage was accelerated in comparison to study participants who did not have high blood pressure.

Participants with high blood pressure also achieved lower scores on cognitive tests—which examined the individual’s ability to plan, organize, and make decisions—than participants with normal blood pressure.

Dr. Charles DeCarli, a member of the AAN and a professor at the University of California at Davis in Sacramento, reported that “[t]hese factors appeared to cause the brain to lose volume... and also appeared to affects its ability to plan and make decisions as quickly as ten years later.”

DeCarli continued to say that “[o]ur findings provide evidence that identifying these risk factors early in people of middle age could be useful in screening people for at-risk dementia and encouraging people to make changes to their lifestyle before it’s too late.”

The study was published by the American Academy of Neurology in the August 2nd edition of their journal, Neurology.